Strategies for Family Engagement in Evidence-Based Programmes: A Meta-Synthesis of Systematic Reviews from a Social Casework Approach

Lluc Nevot-Caldentey, Dr. Carmen Orte Socías, Dr. Lluís Ballester Brage


This paper explores the role of social work practice in youth risk prevention through evidence-based interventions, such as the Strengthening Families Programme. It begins by analysing the aetiology of social work practice in prevention and the theories that aim to explain social work practice as one of the most important disciplines for meeting the skill development requirements of risk prevention. Research has shown that evidence-based interventions applied at the family level can delay the onset of substance use. Various studies have backed working with these kinds of systems to ensure the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing substance abuse; however, family participation has also been shown to be one of the disadvantages of this kind of intervention. For this reason, the main goal of the present research is to identify the most effective strategies for engaging families in the context of social casework. We present a meta-synthesis of two systematic exploratory reviews of scholarly articles concerning family involvement, adherence, and findings that lead to achieving coupling. We discuss the family factors that social workers should consider in order to ensure that different members of family systems commit to building supportive relationships.

Full Text:

 Subscribers Only


Al-Halabí, S. and Errasti, J. M. (2009). Use of small incentives for increasing participation and reducing dropout in a family drug-use prevention program in a spanish sample, Substance Use & Misuse, 44, 1990-2000.

Axford, N. Lehtonen, M. Kaoukji, D. Tobin, K. and Berry, V. (2012). Engaging parents in parenting programs: Lessons from research and practice, Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 2061–2071.

Axford, N. Warner, G., Hobbs, T. Heilmann, S., Raja, A. Berry, V.,… Bjornstad, G. (2018). The effectiveness of the inspiring futures parenting programme in improving behavioral and emotional outcomes in primary school children with behavioural or emotional difficulties: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial, BMC Psychology, 8, 1-11.

Balas, E.A. and Boren, S.A. (2000). Managing clinical knowledge for health care improvement, in van Bemmel, J.H., McCray, A.T. and Alexa, T. (Ed.), Yearbook of Medical Informatics: Patient-Centered Systems, Stuttgart, Schattauer.

Ballester, L. Nadal, A. and Amer, J. (2014). Métodos y Técnicas de Investigación Educativa, Palma, Edicions UIB.

Bloom, M. (1981). Primary prevention. Social Work in Health Care, 57, 53-67.

Bodin, M. and Strandberg, A. K. (2011). The Örebro prevention programme revisited: a cluster-randomized effectiveness trial of programme effects on youth drinking. Addiction, 106, 2134-2143.

Bullock, B. M. and Forgatch, M. S. (2005). Mothers in transition: Model-based strategies for effective parenting, in Pinsof, W.M. and Lebow, J.L. (eds), Family Psychology: The Art of the Science. New York: Oxford University Press.

Byrnes, H. Miller, B. Aalborg, A. and Keagy, C. (2012). The relationship between neighborhood characteristics and recruitment into adolescent family-based substance use prevention programs. The Journal of Behavioral Health Sciences & Research, 39, 174-189.

Byrnes, H. Miller, B. Aalborg, A. Plasencia, A. and Keagy, C. (2010). Implementation fidelity in adolescent family-based prevention programs: relationship to family engagement. Health Education Research, 25, 531-541.

Coombes, L. Allen, D. Marsh, M. and Foxcroft, D. (2009). The Strengthening Families Programme (SFP) 10-14 and substance misuse in Barnsley: the perspectivess of facilitators and famílies. Child Abuse Review, 18, 41-59.

Council on Social Work Education. (2009). Advanced Social Work Practice in the Prevention of Substance Use Disorders. Alexandria: VA.

Cullen, F.T. and Jonson, C.L. (2009). Understanding the importance of communities that care. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicina, 163, 866-868.

Dishion, T. J. Connell, A. Weaver, C. Shaw, D. S. Gardner, F. and Wilson, M. (2008). The Family Check-Up with high risk indigent families: Preventing problem behavior by increasing parents’ positive behavior support in early childhood. Child Development, 79, 1395–1414.

Ennett, S. T. Jackson, C. Choi, S. Hayes, K. A. Dickinson, D. M. and Bowling, J. M. (2016). A parenting program to promote an alcohol-free childhood: influence on parents’ readiness to prevent child sipping. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77, 327-336.

Fernández-Artamendi, S. Fernández-Hermida, J.R. Godley, M. D. and Secades-Villa, R. (2014). Evidence-based treatments for adolescents with cannabis use disorders in the spanish public health system. Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 14, 186-194.

Fleming, C. Mason, A. Haggerty, K. Thompson, R. Fernandez, K. Casey-Goldstein, M.,…Oats, R. (2015). Predictors of participation in parenting workshops for improving adolescent behavioral and mental health: results from the common sense parenting trial. Journal Primary Prevention, 36, 105-118.

Forgatch, M. S. Bullock, B. M. and Patterson, G. R. (2004). From theory to practice: Increasing effective parenting through role play. The Oregon Model of Parent Management Training (PMTO), in Steiner, H., Chang, K., Lock, J. and Wilson, J. (eds). Handbook of Mental Health Interventions in Children and Adolescents: An Integrated Development Approach. San Francisco: JosseyBass.

Gewin, A.M. and Hoffman, B. (2016). Introducing the cultural variables in school-based substance abuse prevention. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 23, 1-14.

GIFES (2018). GIFES-Investigación y formación educativa y social. Palma: Gifes UIB.

Gonzales, N. Dumka, L. Millsap, R. Gottschall, A. McClain, D. Wong, J.,…Carpentier, F. (2012). Randomized trial of a broad preventive intervention for mexican american adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical psychology, 80, 1-16.

Gottfredson, D. Cook, T. Gardner, F. Gorman-Smith, D. Howe, G. Sandler, I., … Zafft, K. (2015). Stardards of evidence for efficacy, effectiveness, and scale-up research in prevention science: next generation. Prevention Science, 16, 893-926.

Hawkins, J. D. and Shapiro, V. (2011). Disseminating effective Community prevention practices: opportunities for social work education, Res. Soc. Work Pract., 20, 518-527.

Hoge, M.A. Huey, L.Y. and O’Connell, M.J. (2004). Best practices in behavioral health workforce education and training. Administration and Policy in Mental Health, 32, 91-106.

Hooven, C. Pike, K. and Walsh, E. (2013). Parents of older at-risk youth: a retention challenge for preventive intervention. Journal Primary Prevent, 34, 423-438.

Hooven, C. Walsh, E. Willgerodt, M. and Salazar, A. (2011). Increasing participation in prevention research: strategies for youths, parents, and schools. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 24, 137-149.

Howell, J.C. (2009). Preventing and Reducing Juvenile Delinquency: a Comprehensive Framework. Thousand Oaks: C.A., 2nd ed. Sage.

Jones, D. Foster, S. Olson, A. Forehand, R. Gaffney, C. Zens, M.…Bau, J. J. (2007). Longitudinal retention of families in the assessment of a prevention program targeting adolescent alcohol and tobacco use. The utility of an ecological systems framework. Behavior Modification, 31, 638-659.

Kolovelonis, A. Goudas, M. and Theodorakis, Y. (2016). Examining the effectiveness of the smoking prevention program “I Do Not Smoke, I Exercise” in elementary and secondary school settings. Health Promotion Practice, 17, 827-835.

Koning, I. M. and Vollebergh, W. A. M. (2016). Secondary effects of an alcohol prevention program targeting students. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 67, 55-60.

Kumpfer, K. L., DeMarsh, J. P., and Child, W. (1989). Strengthening Families Program: Children’s Skills Training Curriculum Manual, Parent Training Manual, Children’s Skill Training Manual, and Family Skills Training Manual. Salt Lake City: University of Utah.

Kumpfer, K. Magalhães, C. and Xie, J. (2016). Cultural Adaptation and Implementation of Family Evidence-Based Interventions with Diverse Populations. Prevention Science, 17, 649-659.

Kumpfer, K. Xie, J. and O’Driscoll, R. (2012). Effectiveness of a culturally adapted Strengthening Families Program 12-16 years for high-risk irish families. Child Youth Care Forum, 41, 173-195.

Kumpfer, K.L. and DeMarsh, J. (1985). Genetic and family environmental influences on children of drug abusers. Journal of Children in Contemporary Society, 18 (1-2), 49-91.

Leakey, T. Lunde, K.B. Koga, K. and Glanz, K. (2004). Written parental consent and the use of incentives in a youth smoking prevention trial: a case study from project SPLASH. American Journal of Evaluation, 25, 509-523.

Lewis, K. Bavarian, N. Snyder, F. Acock, A. Day, J. Dubois, D.L.,…Flay, B.R. (2012). Direct and Mediated Effects of a Social-Emotional and Character Development Program on Adolescent Substance Use. Int J Emot Educ, 4, 56–78.

Miller, B. Aalborg, A.E. Byrnes, H. F. Bauman, K. and Spoth, R. (2012). Parent and child characteristics related to chosen adolescent alcohol and drug prevention program. Health Education Research, 27, 1-13.

Nevot, L. (2017). La Implicación Parental en Programas de Competència Familiar. IRIE UIB [Accessed 22 May 2019 at]

Nevot, L. Ballester, L. and Vives, M. (2018). La implicación parental en los programas de competencia familiar: una revisión sistemàtica exploratoria, in Roig-Vila, R. (ed), El Compromiso Académico y Social a través de la Investigación e Innovación Educatives en la Enseñanza Superior. Barcelona: Editorial Octaedro.

Nobel, M. (1981). Primary Prevention in Mental Health and Social Work: a Sourcebook of Curriculum and Teaching Materials. New Work: Council on Social Work Education.

O’Connell, M.E. Boat, T. and Warner, K.E. (2009). Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Washington DC: National Academic Press.

Ordóñez, D.I. and Bracamonte, P. (2005). Consideraciones para el Diseño y Evaluación de Programas y Proyectos sobre Trabajo Infantil y de Adolescentes. Washington, D.C.: Banco Internacional de Desarrollo.

Orte, C. and GIFES. (2005a). Los programas de prevención de drogas centrados en la familia: una visión desde la investigación y la práctica. Revista Proyecto, 53, 14-17.

Orte, C. and GIFES. (2005b). Una investigació educativa sobre un programa de competencia familiar. Anuari de l’Educació de les Illes Balears, 284-295. Palma: Fundació Guillem Cifre de Colonya.

Orte, C. Ballester, L. Amer, J. and Vives, M. (2014). Asessing the role of facilitators in evidence-based family-centric prevention programs via delphi technique. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 95, 236-224.

Orte, C. Ballester, L. Amer, J. and Vives, M. (2017). Training of practitioners and beliefs about family skills in family-based prevention programmes. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 45, 573-582.

Orte, C. Ballester, L. and Amer, J. (2015). Evaluación de las técnicas de implicación familiar en el desarrollo de programas de competencia familiar, in AIDIPE (ed), Investigar con y para la Sociedad. Cádiz: Bubok.

Orte, C. Ballester, L. Pascual, B. Gomila, M.A. and Amer, J. (2016). Las competencias de los formadores en el Programa de Competencia Familiar, un programa de educación familiar basado en la evidencia. Revista Complutense de Educación, 29, 651-663.

Orte, C. Touza, C. Ballester, L. and March, M. (2008). Children of drug-dependent parents: prevention programme outcomes. Educational Research, 50, 249 – 260.

Prinz, R.J. and Miller, G.E. (1996). Parental engagement in interventions for children at risk for conduct disorder, in Peters, R.D. and McMahon, R.J. (eds.), Preventing Childhood Disorders, Substance Abuse, and Delinquency. Thousand Oaks: CA, Sage.

Rankin, L. Ayers, S. Baldwin, A. and Marsella, F. F. (2016). Delaying youth substance-use initiation: a cluster randomized controlled trial of complementary youth and parenting interventions. Journal of the Society for Social Work & Research, 7, 177-200.

Russell, B.S. Champika, K.S. Wagoner, M.J. and Dawson, L. (2008). Teaching prevention on specific topics: key elements and pedagogical techniques. Journal of Primary Prevention, 29, 413-433.

Segrott, J. Gillespie, D. Humphreys, I. Murphy, S. Phillips, C. Reed, H.,...Moore, L. (2014). Preventing substance misuse: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial of the Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 UK (SFP 10-14 UK). BMC Public Health, 17, 1-21.

Siefert, K. (1983). An exemplar of primary prevention in social work. Social Work in Health Care, 9, 87-103.

Smokowski, P.R. Guo, S. Evans, C.B.R. Wu, Q. and Cotter, K.L. (2016). Evaluating Dosage Effects for the Positive Action Program: How Implementation Impacts Internalizing Symptoms, Aggression, School Hassles, and Self-Esteem. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86, 310–322.

Spoth, R., Guyll, M. and Shin, C. (2009). Universal intervention as a protective shield against exposure to substance use: long-term outcomes and public health significance. American Journal of Public Health, 99, 2026-2033.

Spoth, R., Redmond, C., Trudeau, L. and Shin, C. (2002). Longitudinal substance initiation outcomes for a universal preventive intervention combining family and school programs. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16, 129-134.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Prescription Drug Images for the 2018 Questionnaire. Rockville, Maryland: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Van Pelt, J. (2009). Social work and public health-perfect partners. Social Work Today, 9, 28.

Woolf, S.H. (2006). The big answer: rediscovering prevention at time of crisis in healthcare. Harvard Health Policy Review, 7, 5-20.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Social Work and Social Sciences Review